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Glasgow's Bar Brett head chef Ronan Shaftoe tells us about his food loves and hates

This chef shares his love of mushrooms, scallops and Ottoman Coffee House

Published: December 6, 2021
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What’s your favourite ingredient?

It is so hard to narrow it down to one thing. I love every variety of mushroom out there but really, Scottish scallops take the trophy. There truly isn’t a better taste in my opinion than a freshly caught scallop from our Scottish sea. They are the best in the world.

Do you have a guilty food pleasure?

I am guilty of a sweet tooth. If I keep sugary treats at home, I’d eat them all at once, so they’re reserved for when I’m out and about.

Tell us about your first food memory?

Probably baking cookies with my mum as a kid. It’s actually one of my earliest memories so it’s quite special. I have strong memories of my grandfather cooking breakfast in bed for my grandmother all the time too. It taught me that food is a great way to care for those you love.

What’s your favourite Scottish restaurant, deli, or cafe?

Difficult to choose but in Glasgow, my favourite cafe is probably Ottoman Coffee House. I love the atmosphere in there, not to mention the coffee and staff are all class.

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What would be your last supper?

No question, it could only be a meal at the three Michelin Star sushi restaurant, Omakase, in Tokyo.

Starter or pudding?

With my sweet tooth, it must be pudding. If I get to be picky, I’d love some well-made ice cream, or a simple tiramisu.

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Do you have any food hates?

It wasn’t until I was around 20 years old that I started liking mushrooms and until then I wouldn’t even look at them. Now they are one of my favourite things to eat.

What starters, main, and dessert would be served at your dream dinner and who would you invite?

Assuming this is a different meal from my last supper, my starter would have to be a beautiful selection of fresh Scottish seafood. For the main course, we’d have a suckling pig with all the trimmings and to finish, a couple of Portuguese egg tarts. Drinks-wise I would love to see some nice mezcal, and a bottle of Constantina Sotelo Misturas (my current favourite wine served at Bar Brett). A great meal is just as much about the company as it is about the food. To join me, I’d have to invite my mum, my girlfriend, and two or three of my closest friends. If I could bring some people back from the past, I would also invite the late Bruce Lee and Anthony Bourdain, both legends in their worlds, and each uniquely inspiring.

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What's your favourite geographical foodie destination?

If I had to choose, I would love to go back to Japan to have some more amazing food. However, I think the destination is not as important as who’s showing you around, because you could make any destination a food destination with the right guide and hosts.

321 Great Western Road, Glasgow, www.barbrett.co.uk

Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.

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